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Frontline report: Ukrainians repel new Russian assault near Avdiivka that targeted Khimik train station

Near Donetsk’s Avdiivka, Russian forces shift focus to Khimik train station, encountering logistical hurdles and strong Ukrainian opposition, and eventually failing the new assault.
Russians routing from the settlement of Vesele, northeast of Avdiivka. Screenshot from a Reporting From Ukraine video. Original video: Khorne Group

Day 654: Dec 09

Today, there are a lot of new developments in the Avdiivka direction. 

Screenshot from a Reporting From Ukraine video.

Here, Russian forces changed their plan of attack in the northern part of the region. Up until this point, the main target of the Russian forces was Berdychi because by reaching this settlement, Russians would be able to establish tight fire control over the supply roads and put Ukrainian forces in Avdiivka into an operational encirclement.

Screenshot from a Reporting From Ukraine video.

Even though some Russian sources continue claiming that Russian forces breached the Ukrainian defense in Stepove and are about to finish the job, the reality is quite different. The abundant footage released by the Ukrainian side shows that Ukrainians are firmly controlling the ground and are destroying Russian assault units the moment they cross the rails.

Screenshot from a Reporting From Ukraine video.

Sometimes combat footage confirms that Russians managed to reach the first houses, but hiding in the basements in hopes of being evacuated can hardly be considered a stable foothold. 

After seeing minimal to no gains in the Berdychi direction, the Russian commanders were forced to change their operational goals. Based on the fact that Russians recently shifted their focus a bit to the south, it became clear that Russians decided to decrease the scale of the encirclement operation because their new target became the Khimik train station.

Screenshot from a Reporting From Ukraine video.

This station is located just south of the main Ukrainian fortification – the chemical plant. The goal here is to move along the residential area towards the center of Avdiivka and cut off Ukrainian forces in the southern part of the settlement. A successful Russian advance in this region would indeed be catastrophic for Ukrainians because all Ukrainian supply roads are moving exactly through this region. The new Russian plan of downsizing their offensive operation to match the amount of resources available is actually quite clever, however, it doesn’t mean that the execution will be smooth or easy.

Screenshot from a Reporting From Ukraine video.

 

The biggest weakness of the Russian forces in this case is their logistics. By choosing this vector of attack, the Russian commanders basically forced their soldiers to use some of the riskiest and most exposed routes.

Screenshot from a Reporting From Ukraine video.

The roads have already become notorious among Russian soldiers because they are under Ukrainian ATGM fire control from the chemical plant and also drones.

Destroyed Russian equipment on a road northeast of Avdiivka. Screenshot from a Reporting From Ukraine video.

Even if Russian soldiers travel by foot, which is mostly how they travel in this region, there is virtually no possibility for them to accumulate forces in front of Ukrainian positions for an easier and quicker attack. So, they cannot copy the tactic that they used along the railways. Ukrainians, in turn, have a dense residential area and a small forest at their disposal, and they are also within a hundred meters from their main base.  

Since the area is split into two parts by the water reservoir, Russian forces opened two directions of attack: towards the residential area and the water pumping station.

Screenshot from a Reporting From Ukraine video.

When it comes to the station, the results were devasting to the Russians. Ukrainian fighters from the famous 110th mechanized brigade released one of the most brutal and graphic combat footage of the aftermath.

Screenshot from a Reporting From Ukraine video.

Since Russian soldiers had to assault in the open, many of them did not even reach the pumping station. The drones quickly detected them and started hunting them down together with mortar teams. As a result, there was no intact corpse on the ground. The fire was precise, and virtually no one survived the explosions. Those that survived were doomed anyway. 

Screenshot from a Reporting From Ukraine video.

Because the supporting attack failed, Russian forces in the residential area could not develop their operation due to crossfire, even though they achieved initial success and got a foothold in the first four lines of houses.

Screenshot from a Reporting From Ukraine video.

After the attack was stopped by the defenders on the ground, Ukrainian fighters from the Khorne Group were redeployed from Stepove to this region to clear it. Ukrainians conducted intense aerial reconnaissance, identified all houses where Russians established their presence, and sent a tank to demolish them. The tank got to the position within several minutes, and in coordination with drone pilots who were helping to navigate and correct the fire, they unleashed fire on Russian positions.

Tank attack on Russians northeast of Avdiivka. Screenshot from a Reporting From Ukraine video. Original video: Khorne Group

The video shows how some Russian soldiers are fleeing the area to escape the fire, possibly completely leaving the settlement of Vesele.

Russians routing from the settlement of Vesele, northeast of Avdiivka. Screenshot from a Reporting From Ukraine video. Original video: Khorne Group

Some Ukrainian analysts took a more cautious stance and assumed that the Russians are still present in the first two lines of houses, likely hiding in the basements.

Others concluded that they either retreated completely, and even if not, their positions are too vulnerable and unstable, and with no element of surprise, the chances of penetrating the Ukrainian defense here are extraordinarily low.

Especially given the empty ground that Russians need to cross before they can even start attacking Ukrainian positions.

In our daily frontline report, we pair up with the military blogger Reporting from Ukraine to keep you informed about what is happening on the battlefield in the Russo-Ukrainian war.

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